The House of Representatives yesterday said the country lost over $3.5 billion from the concession of 26 ports in Nigeria, by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and another $90.5million to airports’ terminals concession by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the governing lease of federal government-owned assets, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, made the disclosure at an investigative hearing in Abuja.
He said the essence of the hearing was to conduct an in-depth investigation into all leases and concessions of federal government-owned assets with a view to plugging leakages and enhancing government revenue generation for budget implementation.
He also said the hearing was not witch-hunt to any firm or consortium, but an opportunity to put the nation on the path of sustainable growth, development and economic recovery for posterity.
According to him, “The tenures of the NPA concession agreements range from 15 to 25 years and the estimated revenue to the government from the concessions is estimated at over $6.54 billion over the period. However, JV companies have allegedly only realised an estimated sum of $3 billion since 2005 out of the total sum. All these concession and lease agreements were made to ensure infrastructure development and promote economic growth but this intention has been hampered by shady and unfavourable concession/lease arrangements in spite of the existence of different applicable legislations such as infrastructure concession.
“We cannot continue to borrow money to fund our budget when the Federal Government has the ability to earn hundreds of billions of naira from its leases and concessions. We have a solemn duty to help our country shore up its finances, and we shall leave no stone unturned in achieving this. We are worried that the lease and concession of federal government assets may be compromised where there is no oversight. We are therefore convinced that there is an urgent need to review all lease and concession contracts on federal government assets, with a view to expunging all sales provisions and enacting new ones in line with current state of affairs to be determined by market forces.”
Declaring the hearing open, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Doguwa, said the reality of Nigerian economy demands that innovations must be embraced in the design, funding and implementation of critical public infrastructure.